Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some Random Thoughts (And Of Course Some Music)

By now almost everyone reading this knows of the passing of Ron Ashton, guitarist for The Stooges. I think it's a pretty safe assumption that without the Stooges (and the Velvet Underground), Punk as we know it would likely never have happened. To me that first Stooges album stands alone as something truly special. I bought it when I was 18 in the summer of 1969, probably because it was on Elektra Records which was still considered one of the hippest labels at that time. I'm not sure what I was expecting to hear but I had certainly never heard anything like them before and it immediately became one of my favorite albums. Of course, back then my crowd was into stuff like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Donovan, Dylan and the like (so was I) and a lot of my friends absolutely hated this record. Perhaps that was partially why I liked it so much although at this point in time I don't know anyone who doesn't love that first album. Listening to it again this week it still sounds as fresh and new as ever.

I was also saddened to learn of Dave Dee's death from cancer this week. While Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tish never came close to the cultural icon status of The Stooges, they did record a number of delightful beat-pop singles in the late 60s that are still fun to listen to today...Earlier this week I saw Robert Gordon with Chris Spedding at BB Kings here in NYC. While Robert has put on a few pounds and no longer looks like the young Rockabilly rebel of yore, he can still really sing and it's obvious that he truly loves the music. My only criticism of the show is that Chris Spedding, who is one incredible guitar player, did his own set in the middle of Robert's which kind of spoiled the momentum. My friend Randy summed it up perfectly: "As a singer Chris Spedding is a great guitar player". But that aside, if Robert plays anywhere near you I'd recommend going to see him...Now that the holidays are over my thoughts are turning to baseball. Spring training will be starting in about one month's time. As a diehard Yankee fan I have rather mixed feelings about their off season spending spree. While CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira are all potential Hall of Fame calibre players, it remains to be seen how they will fare in the media circus that is New York City in general and the Yankees organization in particular. Personally my favorite Yankee teams were those of the late 90s when they didn't have many superstars but rather, a whole lot of really good players who felt comfortable in the roles that they played.

The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog
Back in my young and innocent teenage years when I first heard this, I had no idea what he was really getting at. In fact, I'm still not one-hundred percent sure. But then as now, it sounded dirty and forbidden and that was good enough for me.
Bobby Fuller Four - Baby, My Heart
According to Wikipedia's BF discography "Baby..." was never released as a 45 which is a shame because it sounds like it could've been a hit. It's a little poppier than "I Fought The Law" and I can't help but think how great this would have sounded blasting out of car and transistor radio speakers. 
Ace Spectrum - Don't Send Nobody Else
When many people, myself included, think about 70's Soul, crappy Disco is what mainly comes to mind. While that perception is not altogether inaccurate there are many exceptions to that rule. Ace Spectrum's 1974 mini-hit on Atlantic Records is but one of them. Listen and enjoy. 
The Scientists - Swampland
"Swampland" was recorded in the early 80's as the Scientists were transforming from a Power Pop combo into something more darkly psychedelic.  
DDDBM&T - Hold Tight
Like I said on top, Dave Dee & Co. were responsible for a whole slew of poppy upbeat singles that served no purpose other than to make people feel good for 2-plus minutes. And 40 years later they are still doing just that. Not a bad legacy for anyone.
Dave Edmunds - Dear Dad
Dave Edmunds playing Chuck Berry is about as perfect a combination as anyone could ask for. This tale of automotive woe is one of CB's later lesser-known singles and Dave does a great version, sticking pretty close to the original arrangement. 
The Gnomes - Something's Going Wrong
Being a teenage misfit is no fun and "Something..." is pure High School white-boy blues, nasal vocals and all. Perfection personified!
Marshall Crenshaw - Someday Someway
When he is in peak form, nobody can do infectious power pop like Marshall Crenshaw. His Buddy Hollyish twang makes this track from his first self-titled album (copies of which are incredibly cheap on Amazon) even more delectable, giving it a warm, naive charm. 
Muddy Waters - Sugar Sweet
Almost a polar opposite to Marshal Crenshaw, there is nothing sweet and innocent about this track by one of the all-time greatest blues men, despite the song's title. Anyone who is interested in hearing where 60's Brit rockers like The Stones and The Animals got their inspiration would do well to check out one of his numerous hit packages on Chess Records. 
DC5 - Try Too Hard
Speaking of infectious, in the 42 years that this record has been a part of my life, I have yet to be able to sit still when it comes on. Back in the 80's, Long Island Beat rockers The Mosquitos used to do a cover of "TTH" but even they couldn't recreate the excitement of the original.
Robert Gordon - The Way I Walk
Robert played this when we saw him earlier this week. For me, The Cramps' demented version of this Jack Scott classic will always be the definitive one but Robert does a great job while sticking more closely to the style of the original. 
The Beckies - River Bayou
After Michael Brown quit the Left Banke, he was in a number of groups, the most well known of which was Stories. The Beckies came after them and the plaintive choirboy vocals of singer Gary Hodgden helps recreate the unique sound that made The Left Banke so special. 
The Soft Boys - The Queen Of Eyes
Before he went solo Robyn Hitchcock fronted The Soft Boys and this song is from their best album "Underwater Moonlight" which was reissued a few years ago as a 2-CD set with a whole slew of demos and alternates.  
Bob Dylan - I Want You
Nobody can write a love song like Dylan. No hearts and flowers, no BS just raw feeling. "I want you soooo bad". Pure, simple and to the point.
The Third Bardo - Five Years Ahead of my Time
With lyrics like "I'm doing exactly what I want to. Society can't play with my mind", "Five Years..." could not have been written in any other time but the years 1966-1968. So yeah, it's a little dated but it still retains its own peculiar charm. Luckily for us it's on a number of compilations including Rhino's Nuggets box as last I heard, original copies of the 45 were selling in the high 3 figures. 
X-Ray Spex - The Day The World Turned Day-Glo
I think I like this second single by X-Ray Spex even better than "Oh Bondage Up Yours". Play it at top volume and please your neighbors.
The Jesters - Cadillac Man
By the mid-60s Sun Record's better days were definitely behind them but they still came up with a gem every now and then as this shake 'n' shout classic aptly demonstrates. Ace Records has just released a whole CD by these guys which I haven't heard yet but if this is typical of their output, I'm sure it's a killer. 


Nazz Nomad said...

AJ Burnett, Hall Of Fame caliber?????

not even in Prince Hal's wettest dreams...

YankeeBoy said...

Well, they're PAYING him like a potential Hall of Famer!

mariano said...

Could you please reupload it?

YankeeBoy said...

Mariano - glad you're enjoying my old posts. I'm not sure when I will get to re-up those you asked for as I don't have them on my hard drive anymore. Sorry 'bout that.